Your customers are your company’s greatest asset. If you don’t protect them as such, you could lose them to the competition. Thus, regularly wowing your customers becomes the priority.
Here are some textbook ways to do it:
1. Exceed Expectations
The late Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos) was one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of this generation. Not only was he one of the leaders in the early days of the internet (founding an advertising company that he would go on to sell directly to Microsoft in 1998 for $265 million), but he discovered a way to take an online shoe company and make it one of the most exciting brands on the planet. One of the ways he did this was by exceeding customer expectations in every way imaginable.
Once, when a sales rep found out that a death in the family had caused a customer to forget to mail back a pair of shoes that she’d planned on returning, the rep sent her flowers and told her to take her time. (That customer became a customer for life.)
In another situation, Hsieh found himself in Santa Monica at a shoe conference. And after a late night of bar-hopping, he and his group found themselves in their hotel room wanting to order food. Unfortunately, room service had stopped serving several hours prior.
When they couldn’t find any place to deliver them food, Hsieh convinced one of his friends to call the Zappos hotline. The friend asked for help finding food delivery places that were still open in Santa Monica. The cheerful (but confused) rep put them on hold for two minutes and came back with several nearby pizza places that were still open.
Flowers and pizza – they have nothing to do with selling shoes. But Hsieh was one of the first entrepreneurs to realize that the best way to wow customers is to do things they’d never expect. It won’t look the same for your business, but how can you exceed expectations so that one-time customers become lifetime customers? Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
2. Streamline Transactions
It’s not as sexy as ordering pizza, but streamlining transactions is another simple way to wow your customers. If you can make the purchase process easy, people will notice. (The one- and two-click ordering options on Amazon.com are a great example of why people love shopping on the site.)
If your current processes leave something to desire, try introducing a modern ERP solution into your business. A simple system that unifies and organizes your various departments (including accounting, sales, and inventory) can be a total gamechanger.
3. Offer the Right Guarantees
One of the easiest ways to get sales and simultaneously impress customers is to offer generous guarantees. Examples include money-back guarantees, lifetime guarantees, try-before-you-buy guarantees, and best-price guarantees.
The key to making a promise like this is to be willing to back it up. And when a customer takes you up on one of these guarantees, you can’t be a jerk or push back. You have to take your kindly medicine. This, more than anything else, shows customers that you care.
4. Express Gratitude
Customers have plenty of choices in the marketplace. The fact that they choose to do business with you isn’t something to take lightly. Show your customers that you’re thankful by expressing gratitude on a regular basis.
Expressing gratitude could be as simple as sending an automated “thank you” email, or it could be as involved as mailing a handwritten note. Come up with a plan and constantly be on the lookout for ways to express gratitude.
Keeping Your Customers Happy
At the end of the day, there’s one surefire way to build a profitable, long-lasting business that continues to generate a healthy return year after year after year. The model is simple: Keep customers happy.
There’s nothing better than a happy customer. Happy customers don’t clog up your customer service lines, tend to make repeat purchases, refer other customers to your business, and say kind things about your brand online.
By wowing your customers at every step, you dramatically improve your chances of cultivating happy customers. Apply some of the tips outlined above and see how they impact your business moving forward.
Interesting related article: “What is Customer Experience?“